Some thoughts on Q | The Magicians
When I watched Q watch his friends mourn him and have his life — that had now ended — validated, I felt that. Watching them let go of objects but hang on to the small, meaningful moments they represented. Him seeing himself through their eyes for the first time, understanding what he looked like to them and what he was to them. Him realizing that he had indeed affected them. It felt right.
Content warning: suicide.
I understand now where maybe the show made the wrong choices in the language they used and how they framed Q’s death. He was someone who had been depressed and had made suicide attempts and here he was asking, “did I do something brave to save my friends or did I finally find a way to kill myself?”
But as I watched it, I just felt happy for him. Maybe that’s my own depression talking. But I was happy for him to know definitively, finally, that his life did have purpose and that he was valued and loved and that his existence — his life, not his death — was profound. Many people took issue with him having to die to learn that, but it felt real to me. Ten days later, I still can’t muster the anger people seem to feel about the “message” it sends.
I have struggled with depression since I was 11 years old. I have made suicide attempts and still struggle with ideation. I sometimes wake up angry cause I woke up. I sometimes think of how much people’s lives would improve without me in them. I think about the opposite too, how I may be needed, but my brain won’t allow me to weigh those scenarios evenly. That’s the thing a lot of people missed about the way the show handled Q’s death.
Our brains don’t work right. We’re not wired correctly or there are missing connections or too little of something needed or too much of something harmful. There are fixes but no cures, not for a lot of us. We are always stuck inside these bodies with their broken brains. Until we are not. These brains may never let us be convinced we are worthwhile. These brains may never let us know we’re loved. These brains may never let us accept genuine kindness cause it tells us we don’t deserve it. These brains may never let us see the full truth of ourselves.
So, am I angry that Q, who had suffered depression and suicide ideation, only realized the value of his life after his death? No. Cause I understand that my depression is an illness. I understand that there is something wrong with my brain and that I may never have healthy, normal thoughts without the aid of medication or therapy and maybe not even then. And I may never really know myself fully cause my brain won’t let me see the whole picture.
Is that harmful? Possibly. I cannot say what other people will take from it. I can only say what I took away. And it’s this: